Updated: February 6, 2020 1:46:57 pm
Tamil Nadu Forest Minister Dindigul C Srinivasan is facing the heat for making two children belonging to a tribal community remove his slippers. The incident took place when the AIADMK leader paid a visit to Mudumalai Tiger Reserve situated near Nilgiris district to inaugurate the 48-day rejuvenation camp for captive elephants.
Accompanied by a group of forest officials and other local AIADMK leaders, the minister decided to enter a Vinayagar shrine before inaugurating the camp. In a video posted on social media, Srinivasan is seen ordering the boys to remove his slippers so that he can enter the shrine. The boys come closer to him and one of them kneels and removes them.
The video sparked outrage with netizens demanding the minister explain his actions.
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Speaking to a local channel, Pudhiyathalaimurai, Srinivasan defended his actions saying he thought of the children as his grandchildren. He said there was no motive behind his actions.
Deveneyan, the director of Chennai-based NGO Thozhamai which works extensively on child rights, condemned Srinivasan’s behaviour. “This is an act of caste supremacy. He calls the boys, ‘vaanga da dei (hey, come here)’. Has he forgotten that children too have dignity? He is a state minister and has the responsibility to protect the children from the tribal community too. He should have asked the children why they hadn’t gone to school instead of forcing them to remove his slippers. What kind of an example is he setting?
The government should take severe action against him. The Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child Rights should get involved in this. The minister should even be booked under SC/ST atrocity act,” Deveneyan added.
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